Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

March 01, 2004
Veteran of High-Profile Supreme Court Cases to Speak on Campus

Maureen Mahoney, a partner in Latham & Watkins and the firm's lead appellate counsel, will speak to the Southwestern community on Thursday, March 11 at 12:30 p.m. in room W311 on "Arguing Before the Supreme Court."

Ms. Mahoney joined Latham & Watkins in 1980, leaving in1991 to accept an appointment as a U.S. Deputy Solicitor General. She returned to the law firm in 1993.

In the news recently for her successful defense of the University of Michigan admissions case, Ms. Mahoney argued her first case before the Supreme Court in 1988, when the Court specially selected her to argue a case that she won in a 5-4 decision. In 1993, she successfully defended a highly publicized challenge to U.S. immigration policies. In comments on her performance in that case, the American Lawyer reported that she used "forensic magic" in the argument. The Washington Post columnist David Broder called her argument "superb." She has won a total of 11 out of 12 cases before the Court.

Over the course of her career, Ms. Mahoney has handled a broad range of constitutional appellate litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts throughout the country, representing clients as varied as the U.S. House of Representatives, Union Pacific Railroad Company and the Government of Saudi Arabia. During last year's Supreme Court term, she represented the University of Michigan (Grutter v. Bollinger). She won the landmark case upholding the constitutionality of admissions programs that consider race as one of many factors that help ensure a diverse student body. In commenting on her performance, The Daily Journal, which honored her with "The Best Oral Argument Award" in the individual category for the year’s Supreme Court term, said that she "...withstood withering questioning from Justice Antonin Scalia while stressing the points relied upon by O’Connor in her opinion for the 5-4 court."

In addition to practicing law, Ms. Mahoney is a leader in professional organizations and a frequent commentator on appellate advocacy and Supreme Court litigation. She has been featured on numerous network television programs and was twice selected by the ABA to present the model argument at its appellate advocacy seminars.

Ms. Mahoney is a former chair of the Supreme Court Fellows Commission and a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society. She also served as chair of the Advisory Committee on Procedures for the D.C. Circuit, is a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers, and was recently selected by the National Law Journal as one of America’s top 50 women litigators.

Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Mahoney served as law clerk to then Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist and the late Seventh Circuit Judge Robert Sprecher.

Ms. Mahoney earned her B.A. degree, with highest honors, from Indiana University in 1974 and her J.D. degree, with honors, from the University of Chicago in 1978, where she was a member of the University of Chicago Law Review and Order of the Coif. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.